In May 2009, the town of Darling in the West Coast District Municipality became home to South Africa’s first commercial wind energy farm. The R75-million project was the first of its kind in the country to generate electricity from wind power on a commercial basis.
The wind farm has four turbines and can supply 5.2-megawatts of electricty, all of which will be sold to the City of Cape Town as part of a long-term power purchase agreement. The vast South African coastline, and especially the rugged, wind-battered part of it along the west coast, presents ample opportunity for similar projects to be set up.
The Darling project was developed by a group consisting of private developers that included an independent power producer in Darling, Darlipp, the Central Energy Fund and the Development Bank of South Africa. A portion of the funding was provided by the Danish International Development Assistance programme of the Danish government.
The West Coast District Municipality has identified aquaculture as a key investment sector in the region, and is in the process of establishing suitable locations in the region for fish farming.
Aquaculture, though still a relatively young sector, is an exciting prospect especially as the West Coast region offers opportunities along the coast and inland at specially constructed fish farms.
Species such as abalone, finfish and seaweed are particularly promising and potentially lucrative investment avenues worth exploring.
National government has even given the sector its backing as significant to local economic development. In early 2008 a fishing farm in the Western Cape received a R40-million expansion investment that will enable it to reach a production capacity of 300 tons. Click here for more.
The West Coast District Municipality (WCDM) is seeking investment in an Essential Oils Plants Cultivation Project in the Piketberg area of the Bergrivier local municipality.
The area has been identified as the ideal environment for the cultivation of these plants, and a business plan has been prepared. Already the region is supporting some successful small enterprises in buchu production and essential oils processing. An amount of R250 000 has been requested from the District, and additional investment of R300 000 is called for from interested parties to fund the venture properly, so as to ensure a sustainable and profitable business operation.
Potential uses for buchu products:
- Therapeutic treatment of infections
- To reduce high blood pressure
- Treatment of troubled digestive systems
- As a remedy for sprains and bruises
The project will create employment specifically for women, and will encourage emerging farmers in the region to participate in skills and knowledge transfer, as well as driving the local economy in the rural communities within the municipality.